By Richard Dean
Mayor Turner in attendance at Houston Open
A proponent of the Houston Open, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner was at the Golf Club of Houston for Saturday’s third round, voicing support of the PGA TOUR event to remain in Houston, and praising the Houston Golf Association.
“This is a major event,” Turner said in the midst of taking a tour at the Golf Club of Houston. “It is about golf, but so many organizations are benefitting. What I’m so proud about, is what’s happening this year, after Hurricane Harvey, when this golf course for a large part was under water, look at where we are right now.
“It speaks to how strong the city is, how resilient the city is, how people come together, there is no better place to hold a PGA golf tournament than right here in the city of Houston, a can-do city, and we are a city of champions. Who would not want to be a part of this PGA Tour in this city?
Accompanied by Houston Golf Association President and CEO Steve Timms, Turner visited the on-site The First Tee of Greater Houston, took an extended trip down Expo Row, and spent time in the hospitality tent by the 16th hole. And through it all, the mayor greeted well-wishers.
“It’s great to have Mayor Turner (out here), a great supporter, especially this year with the leadership he’s provided after (Hurricane) Harvey,” Timms said. “And so much of what we’re talking about here, the tournament this week is Houston’s recovery and the resiliency and determination about Houston and he exemplifies that. He’s been very supportive of us over the years and it’s great to have him out.”
One of the longest-running events on the PGA TOUR, the Houston Open, which is seeking a title sponsor, is a boost to the Houston-area economy and is noted for its charitable efforts.
“In terms of the contribution to the Houston economy, you’re looking about $30 million on an annual basis, but in terms of the media exposure, you’re look at almost close to $48 million,” Turner said. “And then when you talk about who’s watching, this is a major deal.
“But I want to focus on the charitable contribution. The 70 million approximately for charities, The 350,000 kids that are benefitting from the First Tee program.
Turner couldn’t say enough good things about Timms and the Houston Golf Association.
“They have done an incredible job. But not just this year, over the years,” Turner said. “And I think it speaks well about the future of golf in the city of Houston where we’re going with this particular tournament. It’s my desire for this to get even bigger and better. The best is yet to come, and a lot of that credit goes to the Houston Golf Association, the leadership, Steve Timms.
“I am just in awe of what they do each and every year on an annual basis to benefit this tournament and to benefit the city of Houston. We are extremely blessed.”
Timms optimistic about title sponsor
The Houston Open is still looking for a title sponsor, but Houston Golf Association President and CEO Steve Timms is encouraged that something will get done in the near future.
“We’re optimistic. We are,” Timms said on Friday during second-round play of the Houston Open. “This is a big week for us as far as weather. It’s turning out chamber of commerce weather and great leaderboard.
“It’s a great way to showcase the Houston Open and the Houston Golf Association, the city of Houston. That’s going to help us, and we’re optimistic.”
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner was at the Golf Club of Houston on Friday showing his support of the PGA TOUR event that is annually conducted by the Houston Golf Association.
“As far as our title sponsorship search, he’s been very supportive,” Timms said. “He’s offered to meet with prospective title sponsors. He’s made inquiries on our behalf to companies, so he’s told us repeatedly, he’s there for us.”
Chalmers makes big move
Greg Chalmers shot a 7-under 65 on Saturday and zoomed up the leaderboard. At 12-under 204 the Australian is tied for third and only 2 shots back of co-leaders Ian Poulter and Beau Hossler.
Chalmers, who was in the second group of the day to tee off on No. 10, didn’t do any leaderboard watching. He was just trying to shoot a low score, which he accomplished.
“There’s no point in looking at the scoreboard,” Chalmers said. “I’m running to last. So the only upside for me on my score coming in today, you can be more aggressive.”
At one point, Chalmers had shot his way into a seven-way tie for the lead at 12-under. Much to his amazement.
“I had no idea there were seven guys tied for the lead,” Chalmers said. “I thought, ‘Oh, this great. I’m doing good. Just keep playing.’ I’m in a good spot for tomorrow.”
Chalmers has played his last 204 holes without a three-putt, the longest active streak on the PGA TOUR.
Gates charitable with bogey, relief effort
When Bobby Gates of The Woodlands missed his par putt on the ninth green (his 18th hole) on Friday, it opened the door for 20 more golfers to remain in the field for Saturday’s third round. Gates’ bogey took the 36-hole cut field from 70 players and ties, to 90.
The 90 players who made the Houston Open 36-hole cut at 2 under is the largest field to advance from the 36-hole cut this season on the PGA Tour and the most since 91 players advanced in the 2015 RBC Canadian Open.
The most players to advance from a 36-hole cut this season is 81, last week at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship. Last year, the most players to keep on playing after the second-round cut was 86 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. In 2012, the Houston Open also had 90 players advance to the weekend.
Gates, along with PGA TOUR golfer Chris Stroud of Houston, spearheaded the Hurricane Harvey Relief Pro-Am in December at Bluejack National that raised more than $1 million.
Odds and ends
The final twosome of Ian Poulter and Beau Hossler will tee off on Sunday at 12:35 p.m. off the No. 1 tee. …Among the 75 players who made the 54-hole cut and will be playing on Sunday with their respective tee time are Phil Mickelson (8:39 a.m.), Bronson Burgoon (8:47 a.m.), Russell Henley (9:03 a.m.), Lucas Glover (9:11 a.m.), Justin Rose (9:35 a.m.) and Jason Dufner (10:02 a.m.). …Jordan Spieth hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation in the third round. …Since the Houston Open moved to the Tournament Course in 2006, six third-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win: Jim Herman (2016), Mickelson (2011), Anthony Kim (2010), Paul Casey (2009), Johnson Wagner (2008) and Stuart Appleby (2006).